Monday, July 06, 2020

Food and Flowers

In line with everything else that is unpredictable this year, our garden has been sporadic in its production. We got many sweet peas to eat, just not an abundance to freeze. (In actuality, when I freeze them, they do not taste nearly as good and we end up throwing the last few frozen bags out! )

 On the good side, there is not an abundance of Japanese Beetles dining on everything in sight. On the bad side, I have seen only 10% of my normal butterfly population at this time. Even the caterpillars are not eating away at my fennel as they usually do. 

 The heat and humidity are intolerable and thus you must garden before 8:00 AM or not at all. I did just 30 minutes of weeding and the sweat was leaking into my eyes!  Most of my flower beds have soaker hoses, so I do not have to stand outside holding a hose and trying to avoid wetting the foliage.

 Hubby got up early today and went fishing! He went alone as he was unable to get a friend to go along, and I worry about that a bit. The fish head will make great bait for crabs!  (Note he always wears a bandanna these days in case some emergency comes about and he has to talk to strangers.)

He also harvested the small number of blueberries that are just getting ripe yesterday and they will be dessert tonight. I will make a clafoutis for the first time.  We grew blueberries at the old house and they were so abundant we gave away pints.  Our shady and clay-like soil here at this house has made growing blueberries a big challenge and we are lucky to get just a few pints.

Today is a good day.  I am going to sleep through the bad days, I have decided.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Let Us Make It Better

Have a safe and meaningful Fourth of July to my American readers.  (Happy Independence Day to Canadians)  May we all learn to accept our differences, share our abundances, without shame take what is offered to us, and forgive those who trespass intentionally or accidentally.

Now is the time for a new and better day in America and you and I can and will make it happen.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Road Trip!!

The world continues to turn while I stand still. It can be suffocating as this virus which is up against an anti-scientist leadership, is winning.

Hubby and I took our first road trip in over a month last week. We check the weather for thunderstorms and we saw sunny, and of course, hot weather ahead.  We brought food/snacks and hand sanitizer and masks.  The Governor had lifted the 100-mile limitation of driving from home.  I had not been to the historic Ellicott City in Maryland since their last two devasting floods. It is a small town of over 70,000 and sits just outside Baltimore. It was a mill town in Central Maryland and built along the Patapsco River.

"The town was founded in 1772 by three brothers, who took advantage of the location’s proximity to the Patapsco River to create a thriving milling industry. It later became a hub for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, with a train station (which stands to this day) built at the bottom of Main Street in 1831."

The now-abandoned flour mill.

The museum was closed due to the virus as were some of the shops.  Unfortunately, the devastating flood has forced many of the tourist shops to either close or semi-close as they work on remodeling. The river came down Mainstreet and you can go to this link for a complete documentary of the tragedy.

"In 2019, Ellicott City was still reeling from the disastrous downpour of May 27, 2018, when a severe rainstorm walloped the town, leading to flash floods that ravaged roads and buildings and killed one person. It was the second torrential, 1,000-year storm to pummel the town in as many years. On July 30, 2016, heavy rain soaked Ellicott City in a span of just a few hours, causing flash floods that inundated Main Street, wiped out storefronts and vehicles, and killed two people."

Even today the danger is still there, although they are continually working on re-directing the river.

There were people on the streets, but only a few tourists.  Most were working or getting lunch.  Main street is an uphill downhill walk!

While there were places to eat lunch, we opted to eat our own food.  It did not help the retailers, but we are over 60 and must be very careful.

If you look closely at the photo of the shop window above, you can see the reflection of hubby and I playing at tourist.

We managed to fritter away the entire day by including a 3-mile walk along the river and got home just before dinner time.  A good break before we hunker down in the week ahead.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

It Worked!!

I was so busy, I only had time for few photos and one follow-up on our Blue Crab feast for Father's Day. I was determined that this would be a relaxed and calm visit. 

Hubby is very social and has not had the opportunity to expound on his garden, his oysters, etc. for months and since it was Father's Day I let him do his thing. I am surprised that their ears did not fall off! 

I laid out the food on a large farm table in the basement where it would be safe and cool and bug-free. 

I used paper products and only drinks from bottles and cans. We had homemade coleslaw, a partially homemade potato salad with spring potatoes from our garden, and a fresh green salad with our own lettuce, baby carrots, and edible-podded peas with store-bought cucumbers. I also made garlic bread to go with the steamed blue crabs.

We caught eight from the dock, but hubby gets distracted these days and forgot to reset the traps so we had to buy a dozen from the local crabber. 

I thought the food was good, and for the most part healthy, and with ice cream for dessert, we did not feel weighed down by the summer heat. 

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I had fans going both for the mosquitoes that love my daughter-in-law and the virus issues as we are all talkers. We sat about 4 to 5 feet apart and with the heavily moving air pushed to the yard, I think we were reasonably safe. (Of course, we will all know for sure in 7 to 10 days.) 

Psychologically it was a very good break for me to get together with someone other than hubby to talk over stuff. All of these people traveled through Ireland with us several years ago, and so I told them Scotland is next on the list before we die!! This COVID has certainly made me appreciate the company more. As an introvert, I am still glad when everyone is gone and everything is cleaned up...but I did really enjoy the visit!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day Already

Happy Father's Day to those of you have have children, stepchildren or socially adopted children. For those of you who have lost a child, thanks for being a person brave enough to bring a child into the world and caring for that child. Today my son and his wife and her parents are on their way down to our house! Yes with Covid19 this is a bit of a gamble. I have sterilized the rooms they will use. i have made three salads to go with the crabs. They are coming for a blue crab feast. Photos to follow.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

It is a Dangerous World Even in Quarantine

Four weeks and a lot can happen when you hunker down.  As we drove through the more populated town to the north of us on our way to visit family, I noticed two huge areas of major construction alongside the road into the town.  Big areas of development, in the middle of a recession!  As we exited the small town on the other side I saw that our old dental building was totally gone with just a bare lot left behind!  I wonder if these kinds of changes are always there and we don't notice because we see them happening incrementally?

As I wrote we avoid seeing family.  BUT they invited us up to their big yard for an outdoor picnic of KFC and assorted sides including brownies for dessert, and when you say loved ones and fast food, who can say no?  

I was thrilled to see the three grands and my son and his wife and my daughter and her husband once again after four weeks of no time together!

We did not hug but also did not wear masks as we sat mostly six feet apart in the lovely spring air and were careful about touching only our own utensils.  There were sanitizing wipes on the table as well.  We all brought our own drinks.

Faces blurred to protect the guilty.  Shoulder brace was removed for a short time.

My son-in-law was the first to arrive with a shoulder brace.  I soon learned he had recently had surgery for an old golf injury (bone shaving of some type) as well as a brand new major torn ligament surgery, both done together.  Four weeks in a sling for a very active dude and it is killing him.  It is also his right arm and he has learned to be very ambidextrous.  With the kids involved in learning and the wife on conference calls, he has been left to his own devices.  I can imagine using a computer keyboard with only a left hand is very annoying, to say nothing of lots of other stuff.

Then I saw that my 13-year-old granddaughter now has a full mouth of braces.  She seems accepting of that and I honestly thought her teeth were perfect before!

But the final surprise was seeing my very active par-core grandson in a foot boot.  When I asked what had happened he said he twisted his ankle and it hurt so much they went in for x-rays and found that he is one of the 4% who are born with an extra bone in their foot and injuries take longer to heal because the tendons/muscles get compressed???

I am guessing if this was a normal year where I might not see them for months, this would have all passed without me noticing and that I would learn about this all anecdotally and promptly forget.  

It does seem to me that tons of things happen when you are hiding out at home.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Stay in the Bubble and Keep it Small

Are you tired of reading about the Pandemic?  I am yet I still click on every new link that wants to teach me how to protect myself.  I really, really, really miss my kiddos.  We did drive up almost a month ago and visited both houses and stopped and talked and had snacks and wore masks (most of the time).

Now that I have read an article about "bubbling"...

I had to send that article to the kiddos as we have been asked up for a BBQ this Sunday.  I really, really, really want to go.  I sent them the article and they explained that right now they were probably in a small bubble (number of activities and meetups with others) but were soon going to expand that bubble to a more risky venue as the kids' activities opened up.  They are young, they are healthy and they know they are going to live forever.  I guess I need to see them before they are more greatly exposed and I die.

I think we will go.  It will be outside, in a large yard, and we are going to bring all our own food and eating utensils, etc.  (Except for any finger food?)  I really believe that you are unlikely to catch the virus from food.  Just do not touch your face at all during the entire meal!  You have to sit far apart as no one is wearing masks when they are eating.

The second wave of growth in the virus is coming and I really would like to visit my family before it arrives in our area!

We are home 90% of the time.  I hit the supermarket once a month with a mask and have an efficient list to shop.  All the rest I get online.  Other things are all delivered.  We do have to go to the P.O. every other day, but that is hardly a mass of people.  I am careful about touching anything and do not touch my face and then wash my hands about 10 times after I get home.

Let me know how social distancing is working out for you!